Planned Parenthood is closing its clinic in Fort Wayne, Indiana, because of a coordinated intimidation and harassment campaign by anti-choice activists.
The closure of the reproductive health-care clinic comes amid a massive surge in violent actions against abortion providers. There were three times as many incidents of trespassing, obstruction, and blockades of abortion clinics in 2017 than in the previous year, according to a report by the National Abortion Federation (NAF).
Christie Gillespie, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK), said in a statement Monday that Fort Wayne patients and providers have been subjected to harassment and attacks from those who oppose abortion rights.
“I am putting Allen County Right to Life, and all anti-women’s groups, on notice: You have intimidated and harassed us for the last time in this community,” Gillespie said. “We will be back, stronger than ever before. Because our supporters know that we provide lifesaving, high quality health care to the thousands of Hoosiers in the Fort Wayne community. No matter what.”
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Gillespie said in a press conference that the anti-choice activists harassed local businesses to ensure they didn’t partner with the clinic. “This harassment goes well beyond the ritual protesting. It includes publicly sharing personal information, including home addresses of staff,” she said.
“This is not how decent, compassionate people behave,” she added.
Anti-choice activists targeted the clinic with protests even though the Fort Wayne facility did not provide abortion care.
Cathie Humbarger, executive director of Allen County Right to Life, denied the allegations made by PPINK, and said the group does not “practice or condone intimidation,” reported the Associated Press.
PPINK is directing patients in Fort Wayne to the organization’s health centers in Elkhart and Mishawaka, each more than 70 miles away.